It’s ‘trick-or-treat’ season once again and Throwback Thursday is offering up a treat of a trick with a look back at the 13th anniversary of the ghoulishly awful inaugural edition of Taboo Tuesday, as seen on the WWE Network, of course.
When Taboo Tuesday (the first WWE PPV on a Tuesday since 1991’s This Tuesday in Texas) first showed up on the schedule in 2004 fans were curious, eager to see what WWE had up its sleeve (even if they did gripe about the name). But curiosity soon gave way to skepticism and outright derision. The entire concept, from holding it on a Tuesday to letting fans book, reeked of the kind of bad World Championship Wrestling booking that brought us the “Ready to Rumble” match and “World War 3”. Though the voting was legitimate and the talent was kept in the dark, fans didn’t (and still don’t) buy it. To make matters worse Shawn Michaels suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee the night before during the main event of Monday Night RAW which WWE decided to keep quiet.
You add all of this together and it’s no wonder WWE drew a scant 3,500 people to a 15,000-plus seat arena. In the end the event drew the then-lowest PPV buyrate for a WWF/E show since the company went public in 1999.
But how does Taboo Tuesday hold up today? Let’s hit ‘play’ and find out!
It should be noted that the WWE Network version of Taboo Tuesday is a bit of a mess. Milestones are hit and miss at best and there are issues with playback in select places (like prior to Stacy Keibler’s entrance) that occur across multiple platforms.
As for Network context, it’s all here. All previous additions of Monday Night RAW as well as all prior WWE PPVs are currently available for you to enjoy on the Network right now.
WWE Taboo Tuesday 2004 (RAW Brand) (WATCH)
Date: October 19, 2004 – Location: Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 3,500 – PPV Buys: 0.31 (>170,000 homes)
Commentators: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler – Interviews: Todd Grisham
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME (RAW BRAND)
World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho
World Tag Team Champions: La Resistance (Sylvain Grenier & Robert Conway)
WWE Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus
The show opens with a video package highlighting the fans being in control before actually equating “the loss of an unborn child” to defending a WWE title and “conquering another legend”.
In the arena the pyro goes off and Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcome us to the show, touting the more than 4 million votes already cast. After a brief stop with the Spanish announce team we go to the M.C. for the evening, Jonathan “Coach” Coachman, who’s joined on stage by Molly Holly, Jazz, Stacy Keibler, Gail Kim, Nidia, WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus, and Victoria, who will compete in the Women’s title battle royal later in the show. But we need to know what these athletes are going to wear in the ring to “fulfill our fantasy”. The choices are as nurses, French maids, and school girls. And the winner is…. school girls, because why not?
After Jericho makes his way to the ring we go to the back and meet the 14 prospective contenders for Jericho’s title. They include, Batista, Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Hurricane, Rodney Mack, Maven, Chuck Palumbo, William Regal, Steven Richards, Rhyno, Rosey, Tajiri, Tyson Tomko, and Coach. Val Venis, who was part of the voting, was out due to injury. The results are in and Shelton wins with 37% of the vote, which no one but Batista (20%) got close to. Palumbo looks especially bummed to have dressed to work for nothing. Would have been neat if they took the losers, including Coach, and put them in a battle royal or something like that.
— WWE Intercontinental Championship (WATCH – 4:24)
Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho(c)
Before the match begins we can clearly see the referee and Jericho passing instructions back and forth as the finish was being put together on the fly. Shelton only learned he was winning the title when the referee told him in the ring. This was a rare babyface title match for WWE and a match the live crowd was into from start to finish. This is a great opening match, called in the ring, that features a number of great spots and sequences. In the end, with it looking like Jericho is moments away from sealing the win, Benjamin catches Y2J spring-boarding out of the corner and delivers the T-Bone Suplex for the win at 10:58. This ended Jericho’s then-record 7th Intercontinental title reign at 37-days and marked Banjamin’s first (of an eventual three) Intercontinental title win. After the match Jericho took back the Intercontinental title from Benjamin and set it over Shelton’s shoulder in a sign of respect.
WINNER and NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion, Shelton Benjamin (Pin, 10:58)
Backstage Todd Grisham interviews Edge, Chris Benoit, and Shawn Michaels about the prospect of facing Triple H for the World Heavyweight title. Edge says he deserves a title shot after winning the “triple threat” on RAW; Benoit says that if the fans are tired of “Triple H and Evolution dominating RAW” to vote for Benoit; while HBK says that he is injured, but he’ll leave everything in the ring to dethrone Triple H.
Next we go back to Coach who reveals that Shawn Michaels wins the fan voting with 39% (Edge garnered 33%, Benoit 28%). While Benoit congratulates HBK, Edge looks like he’s about to blow a gasket before storming off. Before the show it was announced that the two losing vote-getters would team up to face La Resitance for the World Tag Team titles, so that means that Benoit and Edge will be forced to team up later tonight.
— WWE Woman’s Championship – “7-Woman ‘Fulfill Your Fantasy’ Battle Royal” (WATCH – 26:13)
Jazz vs. Nidia vs. Gail Kim vs. Molly Holly vs. Victoria vs. Stacy Keibler vs. Trish Stratus(c)
Keibler’s Kid Rock version of “Legs” is intact on the Network, for those wondering. Upon seeing Trish, Lawler says he wants to go back to “grammar school” or “kindergarten”, which is just disgusting. This match quickly devolves into a game of TNA peek-a-boo and crude remarks from Lawler. In the end (no pun intended) it comes down to Trish and Molly until Trish dumps Molly for the win at 5:38 to retain her title. Terrible match.
WINNER and STILL WWE Women’s Champion, Trish Stratus (5:38)
Backstage Todd Grisham interview La Resistance. Conway says it’s unfair and “typical of the corrupt American voting system” before knocking down Sylvain’s flag. Sylvain says they were in Canada the last time they defeated Benoit & Edge and that they are not prepared. Conway says they’re wrestling the match “under protest” before walking off.
Next up we get a vignette of the terrible, ridiculous Litta/Kane/Snitsky feud. It’s a “weapons of choice match” and the options are a lead pipe, steel chair, and a chain. The chain wins with 41% of the vote (steel chain, 30%; lead pipe 29%)
— “Weapon of Choice Match” (WATCH – 38:36)
Gene Snitsky vs. Kane w/Lita
To me, this angle is worse than Katie Vick and twice as tasteless. Asinine angle aside, this isn’t the worst “big man” match you’ll ever see though it’s far from the best. The chain is used in different ways throughout the match and, as bad as it is in some respects, we can all be grateful they weren’t lashed together at the wrist with the damn thing. While Kane has a fair amount of offense in the match it’s mainly Snitsky who dominates. Eventually Snitsky grabs a chair and starts going after Kane’s neck. Snitsky ends up putting the chair around Kane’s neck and stomping on it from the second rope. The referee calls for help for Kane as Kane spits blood. Snitsky, who walked away at first, returns to the ring to pin Kane at 14:18.
WINNER is Gene Snitsky (Pin, 14:18)
EMTs trying to get Kane out of the ring is a half-assed mess. As they wheel Kane away some guy in the crowd shouts, “Don’t worry Lita, you can have my baby!” Moments later Snitsky returns to tip over the stretcher, sending a strapped down Kane face first to the floor. Snitsky puts the boots to Kane before walking off.
Backstage Todd Grisham interviews Edge about teaming with Benoit to challenge La Resistance. Edge, teasing the heel turn everyone saw coming a mile away, yells about the fans picking a “broken down, injured has-been.” “I’m not a has-been,” Edge says, “I’m hungry, I’m young, I wanted it; it should have been mine.” Edge says he’s had the Tag Team titles 10 times and views it as a “consolation prize”. It was his “destiny” to be the World Heavyweight Champion. “So I’d like to thank you,” Edge concludes. “Thank you people. Thank you very much!” An awesome Edge promo and one I still consider to be one of the best of his career.
In the arena Coachman goes over the choices for the forthcoming Eugene/Bischoff match in which the loser must either become the winner’s servant, wear a dress for 30-days, or have their head shaved. The results won’t be revealed until after the match.
— “Choose the Loser’s Fate Match” (WATCH – 1:05:00)
General Manager of Monday Night RAW Eric Bischoff vs. Eugene
Bischoff’s working punches and kicks largely look like trash. After Uncle Eric jumps Eugene, Eugene “Hulks up”, delivers a 10-minute airplane spin, and hits a Hulk Hogan-esque leg drop for the 1-2-3 at 2:12.
WINNER is Eugene (Pin, 2:12)
After the match Coachman reveals the vote, with “shave head” earning 59% of the vote (wear a dress, 21%; servant, 20%). Coachman comes to the ring and then pools the live crowd on the three choices, who boo everything but the head shaving. Coachman tries to change the result to being Eugene’s servant for 5-minutes.
Suddenly Mr. McMahon comes out and says that the “authority” for the event is in the fans’ hands. McMahon says the fans want to see Bischoff get his head shaved and that’s what’s going to happen! Bischoff walks off and McMahon tells Eric he’ll be fired if Bischoff doesn’t get in the barber’s chair. Finally Eugene begins cutting Bischoff’s hair (or tries to). Coach tries to weasel back to the control center but McMahon catches him and forces Coach to wear the dress as punishment for trying to change the results. (“Don’t be a slut, button it up!”) Soon Bischoff and Coach start to argue as McMahon mocks both men. Eventually Eugene runs Bischoff to the back to finish the cutting.
Next we cut to the back where we see a trainer wrapping HBK’s injured left knee. Edge walks in and calls Michaels a “selfish sunuvabitch” for not pulling out of contention and letting Edge have the opportunity.
— World Tag Team Championship (WATCH – 1:22:14)
Chris Benoit & Edge vs. La Resistance (Sylvain Grenier & Robert Conway)(c)
Edge starts this one looking like a monster heel in what is, at first, a basic tag team match. Edge spends much of the match brooding and looking unhappy. As for the match, not a whole lot happens. It’s almost all La Resitance and not very exciting. Late in the match, with Benoit in trouble, Edge tries time and time again to make the save but is stopped by the referee. Finally Edge gets fed up and, with a smirk, walks out of the ring and clear to the back where Edge drives away in a waiting car. In the ring Benoit fights off Sylvain and ducks a Conway clothesline before cinching the Crippler Crossface in on Conway for the submission win at 16:17. This ended La Resistance’s first World Title reign at 141-days and marked the 2nd and final World Tag Team title win for the team of Chris Benoit (3rd overall at the time) and Edge (10th overall at the time).
WINNERS and NEW World Tag Team Champions, Edge & Chris Benoit (Submission, 16:17)
In the back Grisham interviews World Heavyweight Champion Triple H about facing an injured Shawn Michaels. Triple H says he can’t have a strategy because he doesn’t know who he’s facing and that he doubts HBK is really injured, but that he’ll make sure HBK is by the end of the night.
At the announcer’s desk JR and Lawler talk about HBK’s injury, which “King” doubts. They show footage from the main event of RAW and HBK being injured to drive the point home.
Next up we see a vignette highlighting the Carmella/Christy Hemme feud. If you haven’t figured out that WWE can make anything look good, look no further than this vignette. Coach, in a dress, reveals the results of the voting for which match Christy and Carmella should have with the “Lingerie Pillow Fight” winning with 57% of the vote (“Evening Gown”, 33%; “Aerobics Challenge”, 10%). This is followed by the stupidest segment I can ever remember on WWE PPV where Carmella and Christy change into their lingerie behind “see-through cubicles”.
— “Lingerie Pillow Fight” (WATCH – 1:47:29)
Carmella vs. Christy Hemme
Well, this happened. They destroy pillows, they roll around in the feathers, and Christy scores a win at 1:50. This would, fortunately, be the last fans would see of Carmella in a WWE ring.
WINNER is Christy Hemme (Pin, 1:50)
— World Heavyweight Championship (WATCH – 2:00:16)
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H(c)
With Shawn Michaels being injured this match would have been a train wreck with anyone else. Even with these limitations Triple H and Shawn Michaels put on a psychological and dramatic main event that, up until now, saved the show. The entire story of the match is Triple H destroying HBK’s bad knee and HBK using every trick in the book to stay in the match and have a chance to win. To me this match is all about respect: respect for the fans and respect for professional wrestling. Despite his bad knee HBK looks primed to reclaim the World title when Batista interferes to break up Sweet Chin Music. Moments later, with the referee distracted with Batista, HBK hits Sweet Chin Music and is moments from winning when Edge shows up in the corner and spears Michaels to the mat. Edge runs off, shouting “It should have been me!” as he flees. In the ring Triple H comes to, drapes an arm over HBK, and retains the title at 14:07. This would mark Michaels’ last in-ring appearance (save promos) until the New Year’s Revolution PPV in January 2005 where HBK would referee arguably the single greatest “Elimination Chamber” ever.
WINNER and STILL World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H (Pin, 14:07)
In the back we see Eric Bischoff, now shaved bald, yelling at people who are looking at him, including a young Mr. Kennedy and the always dapper Steve Keirn.
Next JR and Lawler kill time by showing highlights and talking about the event thus far, which eats up 5 minutes.
An excellent vignette highlighting the Flair/Orton feud runs next. In the arena Coach reveals the voting for the main event with the “Steel Cage” winning with 68% (“Falls Count Anywhere”, 20%; “Submission”, 12%).
— “Steel Cage Match” (WATCH – 2:28:54)
“Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Randy Orton
This is an incredible match. Orton is fun to watch in this one. From the intense focus to the right/left punches to how he sells seeing his own blood, this was the Randy Orton I remember best. Flair, meanwhile, is as old school as he could get here, and it’s great! This is a bloody war of a match that the fans are into from the opening bell and could have easily fit in 1986 Great American Bash Tour. When Flair attempts to escape through the cage door Orton catches Flair’s leg. As Flair screams about his leg (“Ah! My leg, goddamn it!”) he ends up pulling a steel chair back in the ring with him. Flair swings the chair but Orton ducks, hitting Flair with an RKO as Flair spins around. Orton crawls across Flair and hooks a leg for the 1-2-3 at 10:34.
WINNER is Randy Orton (Pin, 10:34)
After the match Flair offers Orton his hand and the two embrace. Flair stares into Orton’s soul as the two shake hands again and the PPV goes off the air.
Well, aside from the opener and the two main events, Taboo Tuesday 2004 frankly remains one of the worst WWE PPVs of all-time!
There are a few highlights along the way, like Edge’s promo and HBK swerve as well as McMahon making fun of Bischoff’s gray hair, but there’s not much here to really enjoy. If you haven’t seen the Orton/Flair match you should go out of your way to see it. It’s what great pro wrestling is all about.
The rest, not so much.
Already subscribed to the WWE Network? Then what are you waiting for? Go relive Taboo Tuesday 2004 (if you dare!) or see it for the first time right now! As always, let us know what you think.
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Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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